Ferdinand blasts 'not serious' UEFA in Serbia row
LONDON (AFP) –
Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand accused UEFA of not taking racism seriously after Serbia were fined 80,000 euros following an under-21 match in which England players claimed they were racially abused.
Two Serb coaches, as well as four players, were suspended and the team ordered to play their next game behind closed doors following a chaotic European under-21 qualifier in Krusevac in October.
England defender Danny Rose was sent off for kicking the ball away in response to what he said was monkey chanting and physical provocation.
Scuffles also broke out between players, coaches and supporters at the end of the match.
“uefa are not serious at all on racism. Fines do not work at all. They have zero impact on federations/clubs/fans/players. #fact,” Ferdinand wrote on Twitter.
“Uefa need to talk to this generation…..they don’t seem to be up to date on this issue?? Harsh punishments needed as a deterrent.”
Ferdinand has made no secret of his desire to see tougher sanctions to combat racism in football.
The English FA’s general secretary Alex Horne backed Ferdinand as he admitted his organisation were frustrated with the meagre size of the punishment for their Serbian counterparts.
“We are disappointed with the sanctions levied by UEFA with regards to the racist behaviour displayed towards England’s players,” Horne said.
“Let’s be clear, racism is unacceptable in any form, and should play no part in football. The scenes were deplorable and we do not believe the sanction sends a strong enough message.”
The FA are also baffled that England’s Steven Caulker (two matches) and Thomas Ince (one match) were suspended for their minor roles in the angry scenes and Horne hinted they are likely to appeal the bans.
“It is The FA’s vehement belief that its players and staff acted correctly in the face of provocation, including racist abuse and missiles being thrown,” he said.
“We are therefore surprised to see that two of our players have been given suspensions. We shall await UEFA’s reasoning but it is our intention, at this stage, to support our players and appeal these decisions.”
England Under-21 head coach Stuart Pearce added: “I am concerned to see our players suspended by UEFA and we will continue to support them. I maintain that our players played no part in the aggression.
“From what I witnessed our players and staff were forced to protect themselves in the violent scenes that followed the game.”
UEFA triggered the storm of protest by releasing a statement on Thursday that read: “UEFA has ordered the Serbian Under-21 national team to play their next competition home match behind closed doors, following a number of incidents that occurred during and after the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off second-leg match against England at the Mladost Stadium in Krusevac on 16 October.
“The Football Association of Serbia (FSS) has also been fined 80,000 euros.”
Serbia fitness coach Andreja Milunovic and assistant coach Predrag Katic were both banned from all football-related activities for two years.
Players Goran Causic (banned for four matches), Ognjen Mudrinski (three matches), Filip Malbasic (three matches) and Nikola Ninkovic (two matches) were also punished.
Disciplinary proceedings against Aleksandar Pantic were dismissed.